Health professionals “shocked” by results of HIV, prostitution survey

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The results of a recent survey of sexually transmitted diseases in Tonga has shocked health authorities.

About 100 Tongan homosexuals and prostitutes were interviewed over a week for the survey.

Dr Seini Kupu told the Letiō Tonga 87.5 recently she was shocked by the results.

She said she told the palangi woman who came to Tonga to do the survey she would find hardly anybody to interview, thinking there were not many homosexuals and prostitutes in the kingdom.

Dr Kupu said she and her colleague were perturbed by the numbers of people interviewed, but said they were courageous for talking freely about their sexual conducts.

“There are many of them who do this, even well educated people, university students and those who got good jobs”, Dr Kupu said.

She said married people were also involved in these forms of sexual behaviour.

She said she believed these people were willing to share their experiences because it was a palangi who did the interview.

“They felt confident to talk to her”, she said.

Dr Kupu warned that not all surveys were perfect, but the numbers and information provided by the survey had been a warning.

Dr Kupu attributed these forms of sexual activities to “poverty” which she said was  mentioned by many during the survey.

She said it was pitiful and she felt for women who prostituted themselves because they had children and families to look after.

Dr Kupu asked the public to discuss this issue in a way that could help these people.

HIV Virus

The Minister of Health, Hon. Saia Piukala, told an audience in Nuku’alofa last month that Tonga had recorded 20 patients with Aids and the HIV virus since 1987.

In December 1, 2016 three of them still lived with the virus.

He invited people to have health checks at hospitals. If somebody was infected by the HIV virus they could be treated in Tonga.

According to a 2015 UNESCO report, the last HIV diagnosis in Tonga was made in 2012.

The prevalence of AIDS in Tonga is 0.02 percent of the population.

The main points

  • The results of a recent survey of sexually transmitted diseases in Tonga has shocked health authorities.
  • About 100 Tongan homosexuals and prostitutes were interviewed over a week for the survey.
  • Dr Kupu said she and her colleague were perturbed by the numbers of people interviewed, but said they were courageous for talking freely about their sexual conducts.
  • The Minister of Health, Hon. Saia Piukala, told an audience in Nuku’alofa last month that Tonga had recorded 20 patients with Aids and the HIV virus since 1987.

For more information

Global AIDS response progress report 2015

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